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Thread: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

  1. #1
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    CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    I know we've discussed this topic before, and as most of you know, I know nothing about that warning light as owner of a pre-computerized vehicle. My daughter just informed me the light came on on her 1999 Lexus. I've told her to check her manual or check with her mechanic. Any friendly and vital facts on this check light?

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    I know we've discussed this topic before, and as most of you know, I know nothing about that warning light as owner of a pre-computerized vehicle. My daughter just informed me the light came on on her 1999 Lexus. I've told her to check her manual or check with her mechanic. Any friendly and vital facts on this check light?
    Generally, the "check engine" light signals an emissions-related fault (such as a bad O2 sensor). It's not a critical thing - the vehicle is safe to drive - but you should get it looked at fairly soon. Driving with an emissions problem for a long time can lead to more serious problems such as trouble with the catalytic converter, etc.

  3. #3
    D_E_Davis
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    Re: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Generally, the "check engine" light signals an emissions-related fault (such as a bad O2 sensor). It's not a critical thing - the vehicle is safe to drive - but you should get it looked at fairly soon. Driving with an emissions problem for a long time can lead to more serious problems such as trouble with the catalytic converter, etc.
    You need to qualify your answer a little more on this topic. For example, the "CES" light on my Lumina signaled a serious tranny problem.

    That's the fault with the CES lamp - many are niggly little things, but some are quite serious. Unfortunately, without a scanner you don't know. Fortunately, AutoZone will read the fault code for free, so you can look it up yourself.


  4. #4
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    Re: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    Daughter says the light never came on again when the car was restarted.

  5. #5
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    Re: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    Go by AutoZone -- they will read the codes for you, and at least give you a general idea of what system is involved.

    It could be as something as simple as a loose gas cap, or expensive like an O2 sensor or transmission.

    Chip H.


    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

  6. #6
    DonTom
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    Re: CHECK ENGINE LIGHT

    "Daughter says the light never came on again when the car was restarted."

    Some check engine codes take several restarts and many miles of the problem for the light to come on. Others can go out when the problem clears, but the problem code is still in memory and can be retrieved. Not all check engine light codes are treated the same way.

    Code readers are fairly cheap. A good one for less than a hundred bucks and cheap ones can be found on E-Bay for about $25.00. IMAO, everybody with an OBD2 system should own one. However, in many cases, knowing the code does little good without all the factory manuals for the vehicle.

    You cannot guess why you get a check engine light. There are way too many codes to even get a rough guess. A code reader is necessary to even get a very rough idea what is wrong.

    The last couple of codes I got was (in a 1999 Mustang) "no secondary injection air" (meaning the electric air pump crapped out) and the other in my 2002 Mustang was "no EGR flow detection" which was the EGR air flow sensor being bad. You cannot guess these things. Some "check engine" codes are not the engine at all, but can even be a slipping automatic tranny.

    The secondary air injection code requires two restarts and several miles (warm engine) after code is cleared for the check engine light to come on again. Same with the EGR sensor. They do this to help prevent false indications. When that check engine light comes on, you can bet there's a problem, but most likely it's a very minor thing that won't be an issue until you need a smog test.

    -Don-

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